Robert Tabern has been editor of the Inter-County Leader since July 2022.

Raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Robert discovered a passion for journalism while attending Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, writing for the student newspaper and hosting shows on the school’s radio and cable television stations. One of his first jobs was running camera for sporting events at the local cable company.

In 1997, Robert moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to attend Arkansas State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. During college, he worked on-air and behind the scenes at several local radio stations, including KASU-FM, KDRS-AM, and KLQZ-FM. Robert also served as a producer for three years at KAIT-TV, the ABC affiliate serving portions of Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and West Tennessee. It was there he covered such events as the Westside Middle School Shooting in March 1998, the tribulations of Y2K, and September 11th.

After college, Robert held various media and communication roles here in the Midwest, including producing and reporting for WKJG-TV (NBC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, senior news/web producer at WDJT-TV (CBS) in Milwaukee, and assignment editor/travel reporter at WTMJ-TV (NBC) in Milwaukee. Robert also worked in communications for the City of Oak Creek’s police and fire departments. More recently, he served as operations coordinator for a travel company in suburban Milwaukee, and then as a passenger development director at a railroad in Washburn County.

In his spare time, Robert enjoys traveling around the country and the globe. He is also a “national park buff”, and one of just a handful of people who have visited all 428 National Park Service units in the United States. Robert co-founded and currently manages a 501(c)(3) non-profit railroad organization called the Midwest Rail Rangers, which provides historical programs on trains across a seven-state region. Robert has also written and published more than a dozen railroad history books and rail route guides. He also enjoys photography and have had some of his work shown in professional galleries across the United States.

Robert, who currently lives in Luck, Wisconsin, is only the sixth editor in the Inter-County Leader’s 91-year history. He is passionate and committed to covering community festivals, sporting events, government, schools, spot breaking news, and much more. Robert says, “Most of the television news we get here in Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn Counties come from stations between 70 and 100 miles away in many cases. And then, crews only come here when there is something really negative going on. I love Northwest Wisconsin… and want to put a spotlight on the good going on in our towns.”

Robert follows in the footsteps of earlier Inter-County Leader Editors, including Bennie Bye (1933-1953), Romain Brandt (1953-1958), Elmer Haumant (1958-1963), Bernice Asper (1963-1983), and Gary King (1983-2022).

Sarah Beth Radomsky started as a freelance writer for the Leader in June 2022 after walking in and asking if the paper was hiring writers at the prompting of her father to “do something” with her writing talent. She was hired as an official reporter for the paper in August 2022 after “writing too much to be a ‘stringer’” – a term for someone who only writes occasionally. Untrained in traditional journalism, Sarah Beth grew up with a love of creative writing and a passion for learning about the stories of others through biographies and history.

Having grown up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Sarah Beth enjoys nature and has developed a passion for the arts and literature from her parents. Her mother was a writer and editor, and her father was an electrical engineer, who also studied the arts. Several supportive teachers also encouraged her to write and develop a passion for history as well.

After moving to Minnesota to attend the University of St. Catherine, she pursued studies that focused heavily on psychology, philosophy, social work, Spanish and the arts, earning a degree in applied ethics, with a minor in social welfare. During that time, she met her husband while also beginning what would start a career in mental health services.

Sarah Beth also went on to start a family, and now has seven children, one with special needs. She and her family moved frequently as independent contractors for eight years, living in the Kansas City area, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and later Central Asia, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where she learned Russian. She currently farms with her family on 25 acres in the village of Frederic. Sarah Beth has also worked as a mentor in the past, and is also a certified parent peer specialist.

In her spare time, she enjoys photography, especially landscapes involving clouds, farms and nature. You might find her at the beach with her children looking for treasures in the sand or, more likely, reporting on a local event near you with some children in tow, enjoying the activities with them. She also loves her local church community, Crosswalk, and spends a lot of time involved with activities and friends there. Of all the places she and her family have lived, she says country life and living is her favorite, and “This is where it is at.”

Jeanne Alling is a special correspondent for the Inter-County Leader when it comes to various agriculture events in Polk and Burnett Counties. You can read her “Ag Connection” reports several times per month in the Leader.

Jeanne grew up on a dairy farm near Centuria, and then went on to attend UW-Madison in Dairy Science and the Farm and Industry Sort Course. She also attended UW-River Falls to be certified to teach agricultural education. Jeanne has taught ‘ag ed’ at the Ondossagon, Ashland, Shell Lake, and Unity Schools for over 30 years. She also subbed in ‘ag ed’ at Turtle Lake and Luck Schools.

When not reporting on ‘ag news’ for the Leader, Jeanne is extremely active in the community as a member of the Polk County Agriculture Advocates, Unity Lions Club, Roundabouts HCE Club, Polk County HCE officer, Polk County Fair Board, Turtle Lake FFA Alumni, South Milltown 4H leader, South Milltown Schoolhouse Foundation, Polk County 4H Leaders Federation, Centuria Memory Days committee, Advisor for the Unity Leo’s Club, and lifetime member of National FFA Alumni and Supporters. As Jeanne says, “If it’s for kids, I will support it.”

In her spare time, Jeanne loves to take photos and write, raise a vegetable garden for her family, and sell produce with homemade canned goods at the Balsam Lake Farmers Market. Her husband, Al, supports Jeanne’s community involvement. Her daughters, Johanna and Jena, get involved too with service programs. Jeanne also loves taking care of her grandson, Josiah.

Jeanne says, “Family is important to me, traditions are important, and serving others by writing about area events and people is important to me too. Having people become more ag-literate is my way of advocating agriculture in our community.”

Jeanne has been writing for the Leader for many years, but officially joined our team as a special correspondent with her “Ag Connection” reports in August 2022.

Sean Newton has been a news reporter for the Inter-County Leader since October 2023.

Sean is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he grew up and went to school. His first experience as a reporter was on his high school newspaper, following it up a few years later working for local news websites.

Writing was always a passion and he eventually made it his profession. He’s worked on several different types of writing projects, including ghost writing both fiction and non-fiction. Most of his writing experience, however, was writing for content agencies and health reporting. Sean’s health reporting focused particularly on nutrition and how it can impact your overall health.

Following a recent move to Northern Wisconsin, Sean found a place reporting for the Inter-County Leader and is having a good time covering local events and news. Sean enjoys spending his spare time reading or on the water.

Kayla Chastek joined the news reporting team at the Inter-County Leader in October 2023.

Kayla grew up in the Northwoods and loves being a part of the small-town communities. After graduating with a degree in Music and Education from UW-Superior, she returned to the area to start raising her family. She has two young sons and looks forward to raising them in such a wonderful community. While staying home with her first son, Kayla decided to pursue a Master of Education degree and is now working on completing her Doctorate in Music Education.

When not chasing after her kids or working on homework, Kayla enjoys the few months of the year in which she can work in her garden. She is also an avid reader and sets a goal of reading at least 100 books each year. Writing has always been a hobby for her, with several of her poems winning competitions over the years. What Kayla is best known for among her family and friends are her homemade cookies.

Kayla likes to say that she has lived many lives when it comes to the jobs that she has held. From starting as a dishwasher at Jomama’s cafe to retail, then on to working in technology, music, and even as a security guard. She now teaches Sunday school at Lakeside Community Lutheran Church which she has been a member of for 15 years.

Kayla is looking forward to connecting with the community and writing stories that represent all of the amazing qualities that our small towns hold.

Jennifer Williams is the newest reporter to the Inter-County Leader, joining our team in November 2023.

Jennifer, who calls Polk County home now, says she is proud to be a parent, a citizen, and aspires to be a small farmer and orchardist. Her diverse employment history gained her experience with helicopter avionics, medical device systems, and pest control service. She has degrees in geology, systems engineering, and business administration. Jennifer grew up in Minneapolis and also lived in Pennsylvania and California.

Jennifer saw the advertisement for a reporter position in the Inter-County Leader and said she wanted to report/write because she believes in the power of community, and a regional paper covering regional events is a great way to foster community.

Leader Columnists